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Selling the Splat PackThe DVD Revolution and the American Horror Film$
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Mark Bernard

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748685493

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748685493.001.0001

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Text, Subtext and the Story of the Film

Text, Subtext and the Story of the Film

Eli Roth’s Hostel and Hostel: Part II on DVD

Chapter:
(p.97) 5. Text, Subtext and the Story of the Film
Source:
Selling the Splat Pack
Author(s):

Mark Bernard

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748685493.003.0006

This chapter examines how Splat Pack director Eli Roth uses the DVD format as a platform to shape audiences' interpretations of his films. Focusing on the DVD releases of his horror films Hostel and Hostel: Part II, it considers how Roth makes claims for the subversive and oppositional nature of his work. In particular, it looks at Roth's use of ‘quotes’ in his films to encourage viewers to consider the films in the light of world events, in this case, Abu Ghraib and the Iraq War. It argues that Roth's efforts to control interpretations of his films are undermined by multiple tensions between the films' content and the claims he makes for them. The digital remediation of Roth's Hostel films, as well as their attendant instability, make them much more complicated and collapse ‘fiction’ and ‘reality’ to create a new narrative that is about Roth fashioning an image of himself. The chapter also analyses the national security subtext of Roth's Hostel films and suggests that they were not reactions to, or reflections of, post-9/11 trauma, but emerged from a specific context in which a film's success depended on its being watched over and over again.

Keywords:   horror films, Splat Pack, Eli Roth, DVD, Hostel, Abu Ghraib, Iraq War, national security, 9/11

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